Chapter Three: Two Creates a Compact

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"Oh my goodness, Io! Why are they coming for you?" Denisse cried, her palm finding its way to her gaping mouth.

I recoiled. What now?

"I...it doesn't matter now," I replied as she raised an eyebrow, "I'll explain later. Right now, I need to get out of here."

I grabbed my bag and was about to yank the door open when Denisse's hand reached for my arm.

"If you're going, so am I." Denisse declared, defiance glinting in her eyes. "At least I can update you on the chat. Who will help you when you're on the run?"

Denisse is so persuasive.

While I left Denisse alone back at her house, I dashed to mine, stuffing whatever I could into a small suitcase and a backpack. After I packed my belongings, my eyes landed onto the portrait of my parents.

What would they say when they returned from their trip to Venice? To find that I was gone, a teen-turned-runaway? Could I even explain anything to them?

However, upon remembering the discussion on DEflayte, I shook my head and returned to Denisse's house. Not here, and most certainly not now.

She was already waiting outside, a small luggage in one hand and a handbag draped over her other shoulder. My pace quickened instinctively and stopped upon reaching her yard.

"So, where to?" I asked as we hailed a taxi.

"You're asking me like I'm the one about to be captured."

"Right. We could hide out somewhere more isolated and wait for more details from DEflayte." I suggested.

"Okay. As long as I get the full story. Your side, anyway." Denisse frowned, but it disappeared the moment she got into the taxi and turned to the driver.

We ended up taking the taxi to the train station. It felt like every passer-by was staring at us the entire time. While Denisse walked straight ahead towards the ticket counter, I kept looking over my shoulder to make sure no one was following us. I could not risk being stalked.

When we had purchased two train tickets to Waverhill, security checked us, and our suitcases barely passed the test. I had packed along a knife into my bag for self-defence, but no matter how hard I protested that it was a utility knife and that we were going camping, they still discarded it. Oh well. No way can I convince them that I am on the run from assassins and that knife might have just been my last line of defence.

When Denisse walked off with her suitcase, filled with hacking and computer equipment, I made sure we were out of sight, queuing up for the train to Waverhill before gaping at her.

"How did you..."

"I planted a bug inside my bag. For your information, DEflayte can be very useful at times."

Our train was a small, cosy train that was rather empty. Maybe it was the fact that it was a hot Friday afternoon, but there were barely any filled cabins. We took our designated cabin at the back; two bunk beds facing each other. Packing the suitcases and bags onto the luggage rack, I decided to briefly flip through the emergency manual the train had provided for each cabin.

"You have friends on DEflayte?" I asked as we sat down on each sofa.

"I wouldn't say friends. You're right, I can't trust them." Denisse chuckled. "For all we know, they could be mercenaries, criminals, kidnappers, assassins......" She shrugged. "The list just goes on and on."

A gust of wind blew and we fell silent. Taking a few minutes to just admire the city flying past us, I imagined my parents sitting opposite me, laughing at a bad joke my father made.

"Look how cheesy your father is!" My mother would tell me, pointing at my grinning father.

A small smile tugged at the corners of my mouth as I thought of us having fun together as a family. I would have never felt so carefree. All I wanted was to freeze in that moment forever and ever.

But my parents slowly faded away and are replaced by Denisse, attaching her equipment to her laptop using a wire, creases forming on her face. No, I'm not on holiday with my family. I'm on the run, and now I've dragged Denisse along with me too.

"So, you promised to update me." Denisse's voice snapped me back to reality.

I took a deep breath and nodded. She deserved to know.

I then told her everything that happened; from when I first discovered my glowing eyes to the water-droplet words on the puddle during Chemistry. Throughout the whole story, I did not stop until I finished.

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you earlier. I would have, but......" I hurriedly added after I had finished.

"Look, the world has dozens of mysteries, and clearly this is one of them. I understand why you did it. You don't have to apologise." She replied.

I nodded and she continued, "I agreed to join you to help you. We'll figure this out together."

"But really, are your eyes actually glowing?"

I turned around to remove my contact lenses. When I turned back to face Denisse, all she did was gasp.

"Oh my goodness, Io, you look amazing! Why, everyone you pass by will be so jealous if you go walking around without the contact lenses." She exclaimed, her mouth hanging open.

I let my gaze flicker to the floor, muttering, "Now that I think about it, it feels like bearing a curse rather than a gift. I'm chased after, forced to leave my home and family behind, all because of my eyes. Why me?"

For a moment, I thought, Denisse will probably say 'It'll be alright.' But I know it won't be.

However, she let out a determined "I don't know why either, but that scientist the users were talking about might have the answers to our questions."

That was unexpected. That was my first thought. That scientist. Wait.

"Denisse, can I check the chat on DEflayte again?" I asked.

"Sure." She replied, and I walked over to her computer, where she had already entered DEflayte. In the two hours that we had stop watching the chat, many messages were sent and I was about to scroll up when a recent message, posted just a few seconds ago, read:

EverBlazingWolf sent, 'I found them.'

The train shook ominously and I looked up from the screen to face Denisse, whose eyes had widened, her pupils dilating. I only had one, haunting thought.

We've been discovered.

Oh dear, they have caught up to them yet again! 

Bonus Dose of Trivia: The DEflayte usernames are not random! Some are references to my likes, as well as my books. Look back at the names and try to guess them! :D

 Look back at the names and try to guess them! :D

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